I am sitting in the middle of a room full of rookie cops. This is the first of a two day death investigation training that they are required to attend when they first come onto the force. I am here because the chief thinks it's a good idea for us to understand the perspective of the beat cops.
Next to me is Core. He was hired a couple weeks before me. I haven't really had a chance to bond with him yet. But to be fair, I haven't really given it much effort. You see, Core seems to have a pretty strong undercurrent of hostility that bubbles to the surface at odd moments. He takes "constructive" criticism from the bosses personally, complaining under his breath rather than looking at it as an opportunity to improve. I guess that if I were to designate people with either a positive outlook on life or a negative outlook on life Core would have a big, fat minus sign hovering over his head.
I am listening to the retired officer conducting the seminar regale us with stories from his days as a homicide detective. I marvel that he's a perfect archetype of the seasoned cop...right down to the bushy mustache and the impressive ability to use all of the top ten most popular cuss words in just about every sentence he utters.
He spends the first hour just trying convince the green cops in the room that he's one of them. He does this by poking fun at...well...at anybody who isn't police...the pathologists, the officials at city hall, anybody in authority in law enforcement, and especially the various citizens that one might encounter as a beat cop in a Big City. It's a tough crowd, but after a while he seems to be making some headway at branding himself as "just one of the regular guys".
Now, I'm going to preface the next bit by saying I really hate training conferences on death investigation techniques. I've been to enough of them to realize they all make it a goal to present the audience with the most horrifying, soul-crushing and sensational cases imaginable. Often serving no other purpose than to pollute a new batch of investigators with images of cruelty, suffering, and victimhood so foul that they leave you shattered for weeks afterward.